Across the Victorious Scrub Brush, Crow Spirals
shake the sky while I walk back for hours
in a particular emptiness, air hoarse, fitting
to its broad-shouldered detours. The land magnets
to rises and I move toward the high language of tree in a starved
arroyo, a big cottonwood that I once saw twitch
with an owl, voluptuous, who dawdled until I was directly under
pillar and leaf, then repeated its wings and was off
with a vision of other fault planes,
pulses. When I come out here, I give up
all the fictions of the nation. I can taste evidence of silence
and hold my thought. Just me and an unruffled
verdigris loneliness, which is maybe the comfort I’ve best lived with
as normal. Where the desert bakes its stones
to old oaths, it is easy to count all the conclusions
as seduction. Right-sized, half-forward. Coming here
means I can see if the tree is blue with raking shadow, star limbs
and leaf-taking today. Means landing. Dreaming.
I don’t know if this is proof
of mortality. But I’m whistling. The end is always near but every future
has been forgotten. I was a happy girl. I remember so little.
Copyright © 2023 by Lauren Camp. This poem appeared in Worn Smooth between Devourings (NYQ Books, 2023). Used with permission of the author.